The Potential Risks of Bariatric Surgery Among Obese Adolescents - My Bariatric Life

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • In a previous sharepost, I discuss The Benefits of Bariatric Surgery for Severely Obese Adolescents, and offer resources for parents wishing to explore this further with their pediatricians. Let's now consider the potential risks of bariatric surgery among obese adolescents.


    Adolescents can be habitual about turning the sensitivities of their teenage years into waves of hypercritical self-degradation.

    Even those instances that will be forgotten across time are implosions in the teenage psyche. Blemishes become the stuff of hideous deformity. A moment's embarrassment becomes a permanent derailment of integrity. Rejection becomes the equivalent of banishment to some tower in a European wasteland. If only we could undo our teenage selves and build a more perfect adolescent.

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    Sometimes we can.

    My Story as an Obese Teenager

    Every teenager that has ever been was at one time or another a target for random and unkind barbs. It is part of the ritual that is youth. Sharp tongues can determine social positions, and some youngsters become springboards for the elevation of others on a basis that is all too regular. The ridicule they endure is heaped daily until attrition hollows away even the most sturdy of hearts. Obese teenagers are among the lowly in the pecking order of adolescence, and I was obese as a teenager.

    But then all that changed.

    I could no longer stand it and was determined to slim down no matter what. The exercise began: jogging, swimming, biking. The dysfunction also began: laxatives, diet pills, binge eating, bulimia, anorexia. No measure was unacceptable as long as weight was lost.

    I was so very determined. Determined to have the boys find me desirable. Determined to have a broad circle of friends. Determined to warrant attention instead of avoiding it. Determined to comfortably model any of the current clothes. Determined to become a butterfly.

    I achieved all I had hoped for, but the baggage of the transition followed me and remained. The laxatives, diet pills, binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia became the tools of maintenance. Drug use and promiscuity began and would remain into adulthood. There would be regret, but that was for later. For the moment, all was fair. A damaged butterfly was still a butterfly.

    Concerns About Weight-Loss Surgery for Adolescents

    One of the concerns issued by the critics of gastric bypass surgery for teenagers is that adolescents do not possess the discipline that is needed to maintain the proper aftercare regiment.

    Given my personal experience, I believe there is validity in that contention.

    While there were degrees of discipline in my make-it-up-as-you-go weight loss program, there were also large portions of reckless behavior and deviant lifestyle. Once the desired results were had, the maladies that produced those results not only remained but grew in number. There was no legitimate, logical, and disciplined regiment.

    Successful long-term outcomes after gastric bypass surgery are dependent on adherence to a bariatric diet, a program of exercise, a weight-loss surgery support group, and regular follow-ups with a doctor. Statistics show that teens do not practice a program of aftercare very well.

  • Among the additional concerns are poor familial support, inability to accurately assess the risks of bariatric surgery against the benefits of bariatric surgery, and an over-emphasis on bariatric surgery as the most viable option for weight loss.

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    Support for Weight-Loss Surgery for Adolescents

    Gastric bypass surgery for adolescents is gaining popularity and approval.

    Although the critiques of weight-loss surgery have validity, the fact remains that more physicians approve of gastric bypass surgery for teens than do not approve.

    The requirements for teenagers who wish to receive bariatric surgery are stringent, and the success that teens can enjoy if they obligate to the requirements of aftercare are the same as adult patients who have weight-loss surgery.

    In light of my personal history, I am an advocate of weight-loss surgery for teens provided that they receive an in-depth psychological evaluation, have a program of supervised follow-up, have a legitimate system of support, and express a thorough understanding of aftercare regulation.


    For information on pediatric referral for adolescent bariatric surgery and a directory of adolescent bariatric surgery hospitals and clinics, please read my sharepost The Benefits of Bariatric Surgery for Severely Obese Adolescents.



    Bariatric Surgery Source accessed 4-13-12.


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    My Story...

    You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.

Published On: April 14, 2012